‘I’ve developed magicians block. How do I stay motivated to practice magic?’
That’s a great question Matt, and something that every magician faces sooner or later.
There are two schools of thought: take a break for a while, or push even harder than before. But most importantly don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t be too self critical, as there is no place for that attitude when you practice magic.
For many of us, the hardest part of all is getting started. Sitting down in front of a computer screen or a blank sheet of paper, rolling up our sleeves, and–and nothing.
“The easiest thing to do on earth is not write.” William Goldman
To break magicians block, first it needs to be understood. What is the block? This could be a number of things. Lack of inspiration, fear of failure, outside influences, day to day stresses. Whatever the cause of the block the impact it has on you is lack of direction to practice magic. Here are some very simple ideas that, when applied, will help cure your magicians block.
Beginning to practice magic.
How to do you get started? The thing that you simply MUST do first is simplify. By simplify, we mean break down all the complex overwhelming tasks, thoughts, idea and desires down to one individual task. And that task should be simply this. Sit yourself down, away from any of your magic tricks and props, stick on some music, make a cuppa, and ask yourself:
This may sound a silly idea, but try it. Forget about the anxious feelings of losing your drive. This loss is due to lack of direction. Just focus on one magic trick.
Practice magic with a drill.
All through my career I’ve written 1,000 words a day–even if I’ve got a hangover. You’ve got to discipline yourself if you’re professional. There’s no other way.” (J.G. Ballard)
When you practice magic, pick just one magic trick or sleight of hand technique to be your focus. Create a drill you can do in short sessions every day. Repeat the moves and tricks SLOWLY 20 times in the morning and 20 times in the evening. Do this for 21 days. Don’t try to increase your speed, let that happen naturally. If you make an error, ignore it and start the move or routine again.
If you practice magic this way, it will fast track you as it builds in motor memory for the trick or move. Setting a practice drill works because it removed the CHOICE from your practice. Choice is your enemy, when it comes to getting things done. You need a fixed path, with no option other than the practice, over a set period of time. Using a drill will help keep you on target and consistently working towards a single goal.
When you sit down at home intending to learn and practice magic, you most likely get magicians block because you feel you have forced yourself to do this. Forcing yourself to practice magic can remove the pleasure you should feel. Because you have experienced magicians block several times, the block has become a part of the pattern, so the pattern needs to be changed.
We suggest you change the pattern. Don`t tell yourself that you have to, or ought to, practice magic right now. Don’t unnecessarily beat yourself up. Try this simple tip:
Carry a notebook around with you, or use Evernote for magicians on your smartphone. Throughout the day, make notes of things you see that interest you. They don’t have to be directly related to magic. Just so long as they are things that make you smile, think, or laugh, make a note of it.
The reason we suggest this is that ideas have to come from something. Every idea comes from a previous one, unless you are a genius, and then perhaps you should be applying yourself to advanced mathematics rather than magic, for the sake of mankind.
The following day, do the same and revisit the previous days notes. This will help get the creative juices flowing. Ideas are like healthy viruses, but first they need to be fed. Use your note system to record ideas and your experiences after every performance. What went well, good lines and questions you encountered. What you need to work on. Capture EVERYTHING.These ideas and experiences will be of great value later when you sit down to practice magic again.
“In writing, there is first a creating stage–a time you look for ideas, you explore, you cast around for what you want to say. Like the first phase of building, this creating stage is full of possibilities.” – (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Failure when you practice magic.
“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” – Margaret Atwood
“Lower your standards and keep writing.” – William Stafford
“People have writer’s block not because they can’t write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.” – Anna Quindlen
Perfection can be your worst enemy. If you watch magic DVD’s and Dynamo magician impossible, and feel that you have to make sure every magic trick you work on is perfected as soon as possible. We all want the move to look great right from the start. If you set your expectations too high right from the start, your progress can feel very disappointing. Slow down don’t expect a move or trick to look great right from the start. Perfection when you practice magic is a gradual process. Just like a writer, your first draft of practice is not supposed to look great. It’s nothing more than a ROUGH DRAFT of the moves and techniques, an outline sketch of the routine. Relax about perfection and the process of polishing your technique will happen naturally. Don’t let it stop you.
Practice magic outside.
You may find being out in nature will get your creative juices flowing. You can also listen to certain types of music to help me bring on certain types of emotions. If you couple this music with a sort of play in my head, almost as if you are an actor, it helps tremendously.
What tips and tricks do you use to help you stay focused when you practice magic? How do you motivate yourself to overcome magicians block?
Share your ideas in the comments section below: